Doctor Who 4:8 (Spoilers)

Silence in the Library

And this is the reason why Steven Moffat is going to kick so very much ass as Doctor Who executive producer and lead writer in 2010. The Doctor and Donna arrive at the Library, a planet comprised entirely of books and all the knowledge of the universe, having been drawn there by an anonymous message on the psychic paper. They arrive to find the planet devoid of people – 4022 have been ‘saved’ but noone is there, not even a body. And the automated system has an equally cryptic message warning of ‘the shadows’…

Enter Professor River Song and her team of archaeologists, also attempting to solve the mystery of the empty Library. Donna gets a rude surprise when she turns out to be a future companion, the Doctor is taken aback to find out she knows his future history (and Donna’s not in it), and then the shadows advance, devouring the Professor’s team…and what happens to Donna?

There’s nothing weak in any way about this episode. We have the semi-theatrical delivery of The Girl in the Fireplace, the mad science fiction of Blink, the good humour and new continuity of The Empty Child and The Doctor Dances. And Alex Kingston shines as the Doctor’s apparently future companion, but who is she really? Is any of this real, when we are also shown the little girl who might be at the heart of the Library’s systems, and her psychologist Colin Salmon. Is this planet, this reality even all a figment of her imagination or is her consciousness the root cause of the Vashta Nerada infestation? It’s great TV, forcing you to pay attention and use your own mind. Where the Sontaran episodes were less demanding than I would have liked, this is semi-adult TV, and the acting rises to the occasion. Whilst Tate is as good as she’s been throughout the series, Tennant is quite outstanding. Considering he seems to raise his game when scripted by Moffat, he’d really better stay around when RTD leaves…


5 responses to “Doctor Who 4:8 (Spoilers)

  1. Damn I’m almost tempted to download this instead of waiting till Friday… but if i do that I’ll have nothing to look forward too1!!

  2. Garnel Ironheart

    Here are the clues and my overobsessive thoughts on them:
    River Song really recognizes him by looking into his eyes. From prior episodes where one Doctor has gone on to meet people he knew in other incarnations, it’s always the eyes that make him recognizable, as if with all the other body changes there’s something about them that stays the same. For a recent example, in Time Crash he tries to get the Fifth Doctor to recognize him by looking into his eyes, hoping he’ll realize he’s really looking at himself.
    Yet she keeps on going on about how young he looks. Now, there were only two Doctors who were old – the First and the Third.
    Why I’m thinking she’s a companion of the First Doctor gone on to bigger and better things who only thinks she’s from his future because he’s young: Twice this season the Tenth Doctor has referenced his first Incarnation, once when he noted the Oodshpere is near the Sensesphere and once when he menioned he once had family.
    Why I’m thinking she was with the Third Doctor – The sonic screwdrive was Jon Pertwee’s invention. Hartnell never used it.

  3. Overobsessive? Hardly. It’s exactly the sort of Whovian comment I’ve been after for about 9 weeks now 😉

    Interesting observations, worth remembering either way after tomorrow’s episode, considering who is going to be playing with their outcomes in a year and a half’s time…

    If you’re right it was fun misdirection, lulling us into a false sense of security that Ten may be around for quite some time yet, when he may not even make it through the Specials (although I hope he does).

  4. looking over things I think Tennet is ready to move on to avoid being overly typecast

  5. I’m not sure. Tennant is a monstrous fan of the franchise and has already been pretty definitively typecast. He clearly wants to expand his career it’s true, but the 2009/10 compromise seems pretty reasonable and to say he works well with Steven Moffat is an understatement. I wouldn’t be surprised though if he left when RTD goes, although just a brief period under Moffat in 2010 would be nice! 🙂

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